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There are still a few shortcoming as the post mentions, but overall a huge improvement over the existing trail. Congrats to WABA, Parks & People, DDOT and everyone else who helped with this.

Though probably not covered in the EA, I hope future project details outline ongoing maintenance. Flooding, vegetation growth, etc. have narrowed several portions of the trail to less than 4 ft. at times. NPS needs to plan now to make sure that a newly designed trail stays at a high level of service.

The AZA re-accredited the National Zoo when they were fending off charges of mismanagement of animal care, so I'd wager that keeping the trail open is a surmountable obstacle. As a private org, that grants a non-regulatory certification, i would suggest to the NPS that if the AZA has a beef with keeping the trail open, they can raise those concerns via the open comment docket, like the rest of us.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4556141/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/national-zoo-granted--year-accreditation/

Another key benefit will be the NEW Piney Branch Trail elements. Currently, the trail is simply a billy goat trail worn away into the grass. This project will provide a full trail all the way to Arkansas Avenue fully connecting Ward 4, 16th Street Heights, and Petworth to the City's best cycling route and biggest natural park!

I guess I don't see the issue with Harvard Street. As it is now, one needs only enter the Zoo, turn right onto Jewett and then right onto Harvard Street to cross back over the trail and Beach Drive. I think you could even use the sidewalks if you were really afraid of the (slow-moving) traffic inside the Zoo perimeter.

I guess a staircase would be nice for pedestrians, but it hardly seems like a pressing need. Am I missing something?

As someone else wrote "The problem is they close the zoo gates all the time. Not just when they are closed but when they are hosting events etc. That forces everyone to dodge speeding cars on rock creek parkway and last year a jogger was hit doing just that. Ideally a pedestrian bridge could connect Harvard to the trail so we aren't reliant on the zoo."

OK, fair enough. Although if I remember correctly, the Zoo gates are on the east side of the bridge, so you'd have to actually build a new pedestrian bridge across Beach or move the gates for the staircase to be of much use at all.

It's terrific to hear that trail is getting some attention. What has been the history, if any, of discussion on the two incomplete sections (MD border to Bingham, and Military Rd to Blagden)?

I have never heard NPS refer to those sections as "incomplete" if that answers your question.

This is great to hear.

Any inklings of extending the multi-use trail north?

Bravo. Now if only some other local trails, like the ones around the Lincoln Memorial, could be upgraded to a usable standard -- and the grade crossings of the trail improved so that cars aren't constantly blocking the trail. (I'm thinking particularly of the Thompson Boat House parking lot entrance, where I've had a few within-inches-of-getting-hit close calls.)

Why can't some trail restoration be done on the trails in the communities that have been underserved for the last 40 years. NPS has lots of hiker biker trails that need little things like fill in eroded holes on them. Why must upper NW have yet more money spent. What about Kenilworth Park and the restoration of that Park Service property. Large massive piece of land that has all types of development opportunities.

A few points. DDOT is paying for this work, not NPS. So it isn't a park project as much as it is a transportation project.

Also, DDOT is currently planning a trail that will run to and through, of all places, Kenilworth Park. So, they are addressing the very need you've mentioned.

Finally, in the last 10 years, DDOT has probably done more trail work along and east of the Anacostia than they have to the west. The Marvin Gaye Park Trail, which starts just outside of Kenilworth, was completely rebuilt. DC is building trails along both sides of the Anacostia for almost the entire length of the river. And DC is planning to rebuild the trails along Oxon Run and build new trails along South Capital Street and along the south side of St. Elisabeth's. I don't think you could find two wards that have gotten more trail love over the last decade than 7 and 8.

So while I sense your frustration, when it comes to trail funding in DC, it is a bit misplaced.

Why can't some trail restoration be done on the trails in the communities that have been underserved for the last 40 years. NPS has lots of hiker biker trails that need little things like fill in eroded holes on them.

I think part of the problem is one of PR. DDOT likes to keep any work in Wards 7 and 8 on the DL.

Of course, the reason for this is that these sorts of projects are often a liability in some neighborhoods. (The "Bike Lanes For WHO??" trope is so galling--but effective.)

There's a significant portion of the voting population of DC who sees things like bike infrastructure as an objectively negative thing.

@Westnorth, trails in the area you mention have been recently repaved and/or re-aligned. The Rock Creek Trail north of Thompsons and the trail near the Kennedy Center were both recently repaved. The trails and other ped/bike infrastructure around the Lincoln have been in various modes of reconstruction for several years. What changes would you like to see? How would you reconfigure the Thompsons Boathouse parking entrance?

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